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Swimming at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Men's 400 metres Freestyle

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Wembley Arena, Wembley, London
Date Started: July 31, 1948
Date Finished: August 4, 1948

Gold: USA Bill Smith
Silver: USA Jimmy McLane
Bronze: AUS John Marshall


Frenchman [Alex Jany] entered the competition as world record holder and a solid favourite for all three freestyle titles but he had disappointed in the sprint event and would withdraw from the 1500m. Jany did reach the final of the 400m but his qualification was overshadowed by a duo of Americans, [Bill Smith] and [Jimmy McLane], and by the 100m bronze medallist, Hungary’s [Géza Kádas]. It was Smith who set the pace in the final and only his team-mate McLane, who started slowly but then moved through the pack, could challenge him. At the 200m mark the two Americans battled for the lead but Smith had enough in hand to pull away to a comfortable victory breaking the Olympic record in the process. McLane finished in second with the Australian [John Marshal] holding off the Hungarian challenge for the bronze medal. Jany finished sixth in a time fully fifteen seconds off his best. Bill Smith had contracted Typhoid as a child and took to swimming as a way to rebuild his strength. [Hironoshin Furuhashi] of Japan set a world record for this event in 1949 and would have been amongst the favourites if Japan had been permitted to compete.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinalSemi-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Bill Smith 24 United States USA Gold OR
2 Jimmy McLane 17 United States USA Silver
3 John Marshall 18 Australia AUS Bronze
4 Géza Kádas 21 Hungary HUN
5 György Mitró 18 Hungary HUN
6 Alex Jany 19 France FRA
7 Jack Hale 26 Great Britain GBR
8 Alfredo Yantorno 24 Argentina ARG
5 h1 r2/3 Marijan Stipetić 17 Yugoslavia YUG
5 h2 r2/3 Bill Heusner 21 United States USA
6 h1 r2/3 Miroslav Bartůšek 26 Czechoslovakia TCH
6 h2 r2/3 Janko Puhar Yugoslavia YUG
7 h1 r2/3 Branko Vidović Yugoslavia YUG
7 h2 r2/3 Don Johnston 18 South Africa RSA
2 h1 r1/3 Imre Nyéki 19 Hungary HUN
2 h5 r1/3 Per-Olof Östrand 18 Sweden SWE
3 h1 r1/3 Roy Botham 25 Great Britain GBR
3 h5 r1/3 Florbel Pérez 20 Uruguay URU
4 h1 r1/3 José Durañona 25 Argentina ARG
4 h2 r1/3 Jo Bernardo 19 France FRA
4 h3 r1/3 Garrick Agnew 17 Australia AUS
4 h4 r1/3 Isidoro Martínez-Vela 23 Spain ESP
4 h5 r1/3 René Cornu 19 France FRA
4 h6 r1/3 Luis González Colombia COL
5 h1 r1/3 Alejandro Febrero 23 Spain ESP
5 h2 r1/3 Doug Gibson Canada CAN
5 h3 r1/3 Luis Child Colombia COL
5 h4 r1/3 Juan Garay 19 Argentina ARG
5 h5 r1/3 Isidoro Pérez 20 Spain ESP
5 h6 r1/3 Ari Guðmundsson 20 Iceland ISL
6 h1 r1/3 Robert Cook 15 Bermuda BER
6 h2 r1/3 Walter Schneider 20 Switzerland SUI
6 h3 r1/3 Allen Gilchrist 16 Canada CAN
6 h4 r1/3 Derek Oatway 17 Bermuda BER
6 h5 r1/3 Sambiao Basanung 26 Philippines PHI
6 h6 r1/3 Tom Holt 24 Great Britain GBR
7 h1 r1/3 Jack Hakim 16 Egypt EGY
7 h2 r1/3 Walter Bardgett 15 Bermuda BER
7 h3 r1/3 Anwar Aziz Chaudhry Pakistan PAK
7 h4 r1/3 Bimal Chandra India IND
7 h6 r1/3 Sultan Karim Ali Pakistan PAK